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Roger Collier | CMAJ | October 26, 2018

  • Average life expectancy in British Columbia has fallen by about a month, the first decrease in decades. According to Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, the drop can be attributed to the surge in opioid-related overdose deaths.
  • The new Quebec government announced that medical specialists in the province won’t see the pay increases promised by its predecessor. The province intends to negotiate a new contract with medical specialists to replace a $2-billion deal that was supposed to last until 2023.
  • The Ontario government has proposed to reinstate the requirement for doctors’ notes for employees who call in sick, which some health officials say burdens the medical system. The two annual paid sick days for Ontario employees would also be eliminated.
  • There have been 25 probable cases and 5 confirmed cases of sudden onset muscle weakness in Canadian children under age 15 in 2018, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. It is still unknown what is causing the condition, but some speculate that it is a rare illness called acute flaccid myelitis.
  • The Ontario government will continue to fund supervised drug consumption sites. Existing sites will have to reapply for funding and place focus on treatment and rehabilitation rather than just preventing overdoses.
  • The leadership of the Ontario Medical Association endorsed a proposal to narrow the large gaps in pay between medical specialties. The association would like to see more money distributed to specialists it considers underpaid, including psychiatrists, family doctors and pediatricians.
  • The Canadian Medical Association (CMA) announced the members of its new patient advisory group. Members of the patient group will provide their perspectives on CMA’s advocacy and policy work.
  • Cannabis NB in New Brunswick removed images of smiling people posing for selfies and doing yoga from its website after concerns about improper marijuana promotion were raised by Health Canada. The company recorded about $950,000 in sales within 48 hours of opening after marijuana was legalized for recreational use.
  • Family physicians have a new resource to support patients with mental health and substance abuse problems. The Mental Health Commission of Canada and the College of Family Physicians of Canada launched a “best advice guide” with “a compendium of practical and easy-to-implement strategies and recommendations.”
  • The B.C. Cancer Foundation received $18.35 million from an anonymous donor. The money will be used to create a molecular imaging and therapeutics program.

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